Ask Our Experts: Helpful Tips to Quit Smoking
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people nationwide every year, including 12,000 New Yorkers.
But, for men, smoking is taking a greater toll. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are more likely to smoke than women. Nearly 17% of adult men smoke, compared to more than 13% of adult women.
Each year, over 270,000 men die from cigarette smoking, including those that die from second-hand smoke. Smoking causes heart disease, cancer, and stroke – the first, second, and fifth leading causes of death among men in the United States. Men who smoke increase their risk of dying from bronchitis and emphysema by 17 times and from cancer of the trachea, lung, and bronchus by more than 23 times. In New York alone, men are more likely than women to get lung cancer and almost 4,700 men die from the disease compared to 4,300 women.
No matter how long or how much you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Quitting smoking can greatly improve your health. If you quit, you can live a longer life, feel and look better, and save money. But quitting can be tough and some smokers may need help to get started.
Dr. Elana Sydney, Medical Director of Primary Care Services, and Sangim Park, RN, Smoking Cessation Counselor at NYC Health + Hospitals/ Jacobi offers a few practical and cost-effective tips to help you on your way:
Elana Sydney, MD, NYC Health + Hospitals Jacobi
Sangim Park, RN, NYC Health + Hospitals Jacobi
- Seek support: Most people have trouble quitting on their own. Speak to your doctor about getting help. Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you are quitting. Ask for their support.
- Prepare to quit: Throw out all cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters. Make things clean and fresh at home and in your car. Adopt a smoke-free environment. Set a formal quit date and mark this date with friends, family, and your doctor.
- Distract yourself: Keeping yourself busy will help keep your mind off smoking.
- Learn to cope with triggers: Change your routine and habits. If you miss having a cigarette in your hand, try replacing it with a pencil, paper clip or a stress ball. Instead of having a cigarette while on a 5-minute break at work, try going for a brisk walk. Have a plan on hand to combat triggers.
- Curb those cravings: Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) such as nicotine patches or nicotine gum to help yourself quit, both of which are available over the counter. You can also speak to your doctor about prescriptive medicine to help you quit.
- Save that cigarette $$$: The price of cigarettes in New York City is one of the most costly in the country. A pack of cigarettes in New York City costs more than $11. Celebrate your success with your savings!
- Don’t give up: When quitting smoking, a relapse can happen. If you do relapse, don’t get discouraged. Be patient with yourself, think about how far you have come, and try again.